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Facebook exec ‘sorry’ for blocking emergency pages in news ban

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Facebook exec 'sorry' for blocking emergency pages in news ban

A top Facebook executive issued an apology Friday following its vindictive news ban in Australia for accidentally scrubbing some government and emergency services pages in the process.

“This is a really hard thing to do. We’ve never done it before,” said Simon Milner, the vice president of public policy for the Asia-Pacific region, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. “We are sorry for the mistakes we made in some of the implementation.”

But Milner failed to apologize for Facebook retaliating against a proposed law that will make it and Google pay media outlets for the news content that gets shared on their sites.

The unilateral decision on Thursday left some 17 million Facebook users down under without news from places including the Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Post and The Australian. But it also mistakenly removed government and charity pages, as well as those for Suicide Prevention Australia and domestic violence services.

Facebook said it was working to restore some of those pages — though Milner suggested the fix wasn’t an easy one.

“There’s still some pages that we’re looking at but some of it’s really difficult in that the law isn’t clear and therefore there may be some pages that were clearly not news but actually under the law they might be,” he said. “That’s one of the challenges for us. We’re sorry for the mistakes that we made on that front.”

The mega-popular social media site typically uses real people to determine what is and isn’t news content — but to issue the ban, the company relied on machine learning and artificial intelligence, which mistakenly removed the swath of pages, the Sydney Morning Herald said.

Facebook staged the revolt after the House of Representatives passed the News Media Bargaining Code, which would force Facebook and Google to negotiate with media companies that produce the content that’s shared on their platforms.

The bill, which is headed to the Senate, is expected to pass sometime next week.

Facebook has been vehemently opposed to the proposed law, saying it “ignores the realities” of its relationship with publishers that use its service to “share news content” — a belief on which Milner doubled down.

“The scales are tipped too heavily in favor of publishers in what should be a framework that enables commercial relationships,” he said.

In a blog post Wednesday, Facebook claimed that “the business gain from news is minimal,” saying news makes up “less than 4 percent” of content on users’ newsfeeds.

Milner added that in the meantime, the ball is in the Australian parliament’s court.

“We’re in the hands of the government,” he said. “If the law continues to make it unviable for us to have news on Facebook, there’s no basis on which we can change this. If the law were to change, then that creates opportunities for us to feel confident about being able to have news on the service without being unfairly penalized by this law.”

Meanwhile, Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Friday said he had had a 30-minute chat with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as the pair work to find a solution that suits both sides, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Frydenberg said they agreed to speak again over the weekend.

The treasurer has previously said that Google accounts for 53 percent of Australian online advertising revenue and Facebook 23 percent.

With Post wires

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Nxivm doctor defends branding sex cult members

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Nxivm doctor defends branding sex cult members

The doctor who branded women with Nxivm sex cult leader Keith Raniere’s initial defended the practice in a new television interview — claiming the women “wanted” the marks and were not “harmed.”

Speaking to NBC “Dateline,” Dr. Danielle Roberts said she was not acting in her capacity as a physician when she branded members of a secret master-slave group inside Nxivm, known as DOS.

“They had no idea who the branding technician was going to be, you know? There was no patient-physician relationship,” Roberts said in a clip of the interview, which will air in full Friday night.

She insisted that she never believed she was causing anyone “harm” by cauterizing their skin.

“I think pain and harm are two different things. You know, I think people are making an assumption that people were harmed. Nobody was harmed in this,” Roberts said.

“These women wanted this, they asked for this. You know, I mean and I understand now that narrative has changed and they’re saying other things,” she added.

She also claimed the women “were laughing” at the time.

“They said they wanted it. They were laughing,” she said.

Members of DOS said at Raniere’s 2019 trial in Brooklyn federal court that they handed over damaging “collateral” to join the group, which they feared would be released.

They were then branded in their public region with an insignia that looked like the letters K and R backwards during a nude ceremony — though several have said they didn’t realize that’s what the design was until they received it.

Jurors at the trial heard audio recordings of Raniere speaking with his No. 2, “Smallville” actress Allison Mack, saying the ceremonies should resemble human sacrifice rituals.

“Do you think the person who’s being branded should be held to the table, almost like a sacrifice?” Raniere asked Mack in the recording, adding that he thinks the slaves should be completely nude. “That’s a feeling of submission.”

“Laying on the back, legs spread straight, held to the table. Hands above the head, probably held, almost like sacrificial,” he added.

Former DOS slave-master Lauren Salzman described the branding as “the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.”

Roberts has not been charged with any crimes. But her medical license is under review because of her involvement in Nxivm.

Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison in October after being convicted on charges that included racketeering and sex trafficking.

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Missing 20-year-old mom identified from remains in Florida

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Missing 20-year-old mom identified from remains in Florida

A missing 20-year-old mom has been found dead in a shallow grave in Florida, authorities said.

Nyeisha Nelson has been identified from remains found Saturday near train tracks in a wooded area near Crescent City, news station WJXT reported.

She was last seen dropping off her 5-year-old daughter at Middleton-Burney Elementary School on Feb. 11, news station WJAX reported.

But when her family didn’t hear from her, they reported her missing to authorities.

Investigators found Nelson’s 2008 Honda Accord in the woods Thursday less than five miles from where authorities uncovered her remains.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Col. Joseph Wells said they believe that Nelson was the victim of a homicide, though they haven’t identified any suspects in the slaying.

“The investigation does suggest the likelihood that she knew the offender. This was not a random act of stranger on stranger violence,” he said.

He said her abandoned car may provide some clues as to who was responsible.

“Her car is going to be a key part of this,” he said. “Not so much the car — we have it — but who was driving that car around or after Feb. 11.”

No further details have been released about the cause of manner of her death, but an autopsy was ordered.

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Virginia woman searches for missing urn of father’s ashes

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Virginia woman searches for missing urn of father's ashes

A heartbroken Virginia woman is on a mission to find an urn containing her deceased father’s ashes — after it was sent to the wrong address, according to a report.

June Kim, of Fairfax County, believes someone swiped a package containing her dad’s precious remains after a funeral home mistakenly shipped them to an old address of hers weeks ago, WUSA 9 reported.

“You’re just disgusted that someone could do that,” said Kim, who is circulating fliers to find the sentimental item. “You don’t even want to think about if someone just threw it away.”

After her father died from a heart attack in December at age 58, she ordered the urn to be sent to her abode from a Texas funeral home — but it never showed up, she said. 

The funeral home later claimed it had been delivered and she soon learned it had been sent to the incorrect address, she said.

On a hunch, she spoke to former neighbors at her old apartment complex, who remembered seeing the package before it went missing.

“Just losing someone you love very much is very hard,” she said. “Even in death, you want to do the best you can for those you love. It’s difficult to do this for my dad when there’s a part of him unaccounted for somewhere,” she said.

Kim has since posted fliers around town offering a unspecified reward for the safe return of her dad’s remains — “no questions asked.”

Kim didn’t immediately return The Post’s call on Wednesday.

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